The Un-Book Review: Jimmy Stewart, A Biography

Laptop in classic library

I hate writing reviews! There I said it. Movie reviews, book reviews, it doesn’t matter. I just don’t like doing them.

I know that may sound strange coming from someone who chose to write a blog about movies, but I just don’t think I’m particularly good at them and frankly, I consider doing them to be kind of boring. Don’t even get me started on how I feel about writing out a plot synopsis. :-)

I find that I don’t fully enjoy watching movies or reading books if I constantly have to decide what is or isn’t an important point to cover in a review. I have such a terrible short term memory, that I can’t wait till I’m completely done to do that because I will have forgotten too many of the details by then, but I don’t like taking notes either.

So starting with this post, I will be trying something new with the hopes that I’ll still be able to discuss books and movies in an interesting and informative way without writing formal reviews.


I’ve been wanting to read more books about classic movies for a while now, and what better place to start than with a biography about my favorite actor, Jimmy Stewart.

I just started reading “Jimmy Stewart, A Biography” by Marc Eliot, and instead of waiting until I’m done and writing a review, anytime that something really stands out to me in the book, I will try to present it in an interesting way in a short blog post.

I just happened to find something right off the bat on the first page of the book when I read this great quote by actor Thomas Mitchell, “He was the most naturally gifted actor I ever worked with. It was all instinct, all emotion; I don’t think it came from training or technique . . . it came from forces deep within him.”

Thomas Mitchell, who played Uncle Billy opposite Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), is one of only a few actors to have won an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony. I think some people have misconceptions about Jimmy Stewart and don’t realize the true depth he had as an actor, so to read that quote by such a decorated actor really made me happy. :-) It’s my wish that everyone could see those qualities in him.

What is your favorite Jimmy Stewart role?


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  1. Rick says:

    I’d have to say VERTIGO contains my favorite James Stewart performance, but he was excellent in all the Anthony Mann Westerns, ANATOMY OF A MURDER, and FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX. Let us know how you like the bio when you’re done!

  2. I adore Jimmy Stewart in almost everything he’s done, especially his westerns. However, if I had to choose only one performance it would have to be Paul Biegler in “Anatomy of a Murder”.

  3. Ginny says:

    Anatomy of a Murder is always the movie that comes to mind when I think about his depth as an actor, so I’m glad to hear that others enjoy his performance in that movie. It’s hard for me to choose, but I think Rear Window and It’s a Wonderful Life are my two favorite Jimmy Stewart roles. So many people mention his westerns, and I have to admit I have never seen one, which I know I have to change soon!

  4. R.A. Kerr says:

    You haven’t seen any of Jimmy Stewart’s westerns? You have some good movie-watchin’ ahead of you! Two of my fave Stewart westerns are “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “The Naked Spur.”

  5. Ginny says:

    I know, I feel bad when I say he is my favorite actor yet I’ve never seen any of his westerns. I can be very stubborn when I assume I won’t like something, and westerns never seemed like a genre that would appeal to me. But I will get started watching them soon. :-) I actually have Winchester ’73 on hold at the library so I will be watching that soon. I’ve been told his westerns directed by Anthony Mann are a good place to start.